Acne is poorly understood due to not only its complex and multiple causes, but also a perpetuation of old sciences. This results in acne myths and powerlessness for the sufferer. In this article, we will empower you with new scientific information, so you can choose your acne treatment, intentionally.
Who is affected by acne?
About 85% of teens, 40% of adult women and about 15% of adult men.
What is acne?
ALL ACNE IS HORMONAL & INFLAMMATORY. In other words, the various forms of acne that manifests on the skin as pimples (with or without pus), blemishes, blackheads, whiteheads and cysts, all start from an inflammation under the skin and are driven by various hormones.
A teen’s acne is driven by a push in the growth of sex hormones. At this stage, these hormones are responsible for the development of their sexual organs.
An adult acne is driven by an imbalance of several hormones.
In both cases, acne is the result of fluctuations in hormones. In the case of the teens, the fluctuation is due to the rapid growth of sex hormones; in adult women, the main fluctuation is her monthly menstruation; in adult men, the fluctuation is usually due to an external stimulus like the intake of steroids (testosterones) to bulk up. There are other reasons for hormonal fluctuations, but these are the most common drivers. Hormonal acne has a wider meaning than what you are probably used to.
Acne is simply a message, or even an alert from your body of what is going on inside of you. Acne reflects the state of flux in your systems. To best treat acne, a solution that improves your general health is the best way to target acne.
Current acne prescriptions
Oxytetracycline, Minocycline, Doxycycline, Erythromycin, Azithromycin
Efficacy rate 80%
Controversial acne treatment for teens, manipulates hormones during the development of sexual organs
Efficacy rates between 0% to 15%
1/3 of users need 2nd and 3rd treatments
Acne can return when the pill is stopped
3+ months of prescription
6+ months of prescription
HIGH resistance to antibiotics
Suspected to be anti-androgenic (hormone manipulation)
microbiome diversity, some irreversible
Very strong side effects
The prescription creams / ointments - Retinoids, Adapalene, Tretinoin, Benzoyl peroxide, Corticosteroids (steroid cream) - are harsh chemical treatments for the skin.
The main problem with these treatments?
They are based on 40-50 years-old sciences. They pre-date the Human Genome Project (mapping of our genetic make-up) and Human Microbiome Project (mapping of our microbial make-up). These latest sciences exponentially multiplied the understanding of the human body, just in the last 10 years. As an analogy, you can think of them as the advent of the internet in human health. And to put in perspective, the acne prescription treatments would be in the pre-internet era.
What causes acne?
1. Hormones, a whole array of them, the main ones being:
- ANDROGENS: High androgens means higher sebum, which leads to acne. This hormone is the main link to acne.
- CORTISOL: High cortisol (stress hormones) influences androgens to produce more sebum. High cortisol also means more insulin that influences androgens & leads to acne.
- OESTROGENS: Too much oestrogen and too little oestrogen leads to acne.
- INSULIN: High insulin influences higher androgenic activity. Insulin is related to nutrition.
- PROGESTERONE: Low and high progesterone also lead to acne.
2. Inflammatory factors. To keep the hormones in balance and provide our cells with enough antioxidants and nutrients, the right nutrition is important.
3. Microbiome. The gut microbiome affects almost all our body systems, including the balancing of our hormones. A lack of diversity of the intestinal flora and a leaky gut (even mild ones) are potential causes of acne.
4. Damaged skin barrier, wrong pH, unfriendly to skin microbiome. A damaged skin barrier is an open gate to infection (pathogens) and other aggressors like pollution, dirt and UV. Damaged skin barrier is also ripe for skin conditions like acne and eczema as the skin is too fragilised to repair on its own. Products like soaps and skincare change the skin's pH, making the skin an unfriendly environment for microbiota.
We now know that by drying out the skin and sebum, by decimating the bacteria in the gut, by sensitising the skin with harsh ingredients are NOT the way to treat acne.
What are the alternative solutions to prescription treatments?
Skin Diligent offers a natural yet powerfully effective way to target acne (70% efficacy with 2-4 months of our Acne-Prone Skin kit use). With a focus on acne-prone skin and the prevention of premature ageing, Skin Diligent specialises in resolving skin issues. Thanks to the unique IN / ON / UNDER approach, you are improving the skin appearance in the short-term, and investing in the long-term health of the skin. Skin Diligent achieves this thanks to its epigenetic technology.
Skin Diligent formulations: LATEST science-based
Improve skin appearance and improve long-term skin health
Respect skin microbiome and improve gut microbiome
Improve the integrity of the skin barrier
Natural & High-tech formulations
What problem skins can Skin Diligent help with?
- Acne-prone skin, teens and adults
- Occasional spots or blemishes due to a stressful period
- Monthly outbreaks due to menstruation
- Menopausal skin issues
- Dry or damaged skin
- Sensitive skin
- Signs of premature skin ageing
Here, you will find different routines to help you solve your skin problems.
Here, you will find the results of our users studies and clinical studies.
What kind of nutrition should you adopt?
Based on the new science of nutrition, healthy eating now has a new purpose. Given the overarching importance of your gut microbiome in overall health and skin health, you should be choosing foods to feed your gut microbiome. To improve acne, a skin problem related to hormones, you should also prioritise food to help balance your hormones.
Foods that help feed your microbiome are:
- Fibre-rich fruits and vegetables such as oats, broccoli, bananas, apples, cabbage, etc
- Diversity of plant-based foods - aim for a minimum of 30- 35 different foods (including herbs, spices, seeds, fruits, vegetables) per week to improve the diversity of the gut microbiome
Foods that help restore hormone balance are:
- Healthy fats such as olive oil, flaxseed, crushed hemp seeds, avocado, nuts
- Omega 3s (fish oil or omega 3 supplements).
- Higher sugar (including simple carbs) produce more insulin (hormone). More insulin activates more androgens and increases insulin-like growth factors (IGF-1). More androgens lead to more sebum and potentially to acne or spots.
- In ageing skin, sugar leads to premature ageing in a process called glycation. Glycation damages collagen and elastin and can't be reversed, leading to sagging skin and wrinkles.
Foods that have been linked to aggravating acne are cow's milk, processed or fried foods, sugar and chocolate.
Read more about diet and acne here.
What kind of lifestyle should you adopt?
Exercise increases blood flow, and blood carries oxygen and nutrients to working cells around the body, including the skin. Physical movement is also key in hormone balancing. Any form of exercise works, from fast walking to resistance training like weightlifting. Find an activity you like to do, and you're more likely to stick with it.
Managing stress is another key element of heath and healthy skin. Incorporate breathing exercises into your life, even if it's just a few minutes each day. Yoga is a great way to combine physical and breathing exercises. In sustained periods of stress, we recommend taking the Acne & Stress Food Supplement, rich in antioxidants and magnesium.
Improve your sleep and take time out to relax. Stress (via cortisol hormone) is an aggravating factor for acne, and many people suffer stress without recognising the symptoms.
Read more about stress and acne here.